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(Feature) Couple develops natural wound care product using coconut

By Ma. Cristina C. Arayata

MANILA, Aug. 26 (PNA) — Oftentimes, failure leads to success. Our disappointments usually push us to strive harder, be better, and be more productive.

Years ago, Denver Chicano, a nurse at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), didn’t want to enter the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). There was a time when he came in late and wasn’t able to attend the orientation.

When he entered the ICU to remove a wound gauze from a child, it bled. The child cried so badly.

Chicano didn’t want it to happen again. That incident, plus seeing patients who didn’t have enough money, encouraged him to develop something that would change wound management system in the country.

His mom has a nata de coco business, so he also targeted uplifting the nata de coco industry.

How can he do these at the same time?

Together with his wife, Dr. Acel Chicano, they developed Vermac (vitro engineered restorative microcellulose absorbent covering), an all-natural wound dressing using coco cellulose and monolaurin.

In an interview with the Philippines News Agency, Chicano explained that even the preservative used in Vermac was made from coconut. Its preservative is monolaurin, which comes from coconut and which has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Wow, I know that a coconut tree is also considered as “tree of life” since several products can be made from almost all its parts. We are aware that coconut oil and milk are also used in beauty and skin care products. This is the first time I learned that an anti-bacterial bacterial agent can also be derived from coconut.

Chicano shared that they’re now on the seventh year of developing this product. “The improvement should be continuous in pharmaceutical products,” he told PNA. He cited he was able to develop the Vermac’s prototype in a month.

He said he developed the product, while his wife identified up to what extent or kinds of wounds the product can be used to.

Vermac has won in the Creative category of the Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits (RICE) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in 2013.

Prior to that, in 2012, the couple was granted SETUP (Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program) assistance for Vermac.

SETUP is the DOST’s nationwide strategy to encourage and assist micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt technological innovations to improve product and operations, thus boosting their productivity and competitiveness.

”The DOST has provided us with PhP540,000, assisted us in the standardization of the product, and also guided us with other steps we had to go through,” he said.

In 2014, their invention also won in the Creative Research category of DOST’s National Invention Contests and Exhibits (NICE).

According to the couple, Vermac reduces bacterial burden while enabling continuous autolytic debridement and maintaining moisture balance in the wound.

With regard to efficacy, Chicano said Vermac is 50 percent more effective in terms of standard healing rate of burns, wounds and abrasions. For diabetic wounds, meanwhile, he said that Vermac helps in preventing amputation, as the wound doesn’t worsen using this product.

At present, Vermac is only available in some hospitals and clinics. It can be bought in five different sizes, with the following prices: PhP95, PhP150, PhP295, PhP680 and PhP 1,080.

People say “everything happens for a reason.” Chicano used to be someone who didn’t even want to enter the ICU. At least, his experience led him to develop something beneficial not just to PGH patients, but all Filipinos. (PNA)

SCS/MCCA

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